Adorable, affordable, nutritional. Guess what else! Delicious, of course. This is a tiny tribute to the rather underestimated black-eyed peas and this Mediterranean black-eyed pea bowls recipe is one of the best ways to enjoy them. Not to mention healthy because it goes without saying that Mediterranean cooking and healthy eating walk together hand in hand.
Black-eyed peas belong to the big legume family and they are a staple not only in the Mediterranean cuisine but in many other cuisines all over the world. They aren’t so popular and I cannot see why. They are so much easier to prepare than most dried legumes because they don’t require an overnight soak. Their nutritional value is undeniable. They contain approximately 11 grams of protein per cup, a great variety of essential vitamins, minerals antioxidants and digestion-friendly fiber. Plus, their taste is amazing!
They are one of my favorite cooking ingredients. So versatile. I make ahead a bunch of them and use them as a vegetable stew (like today’s post), as a salad with tons of Mediterranean herbs (like the one in my fridge) or as a delicious spread (like the one I am going to make, hopefully, this afternoon…).
DRIED OR CANNED?
So, off we go to the recipe with a huge question. Dried or canned black-eyed peas? To tell you the truth, and nothing but the truth, I have never (ever) used canned ingredients of any kind. There is (almost) no market for canned products in the Mediterranean area because it is obvious that the consumers prefer fresh food over canned. However, I totally get the convenience of those products and I strongly believe that good quality (no excess sodium and no BPA), for instance, are superior food than processed and prepackaged food, fast food, etc. I suppose you share the same opinion. Great! Therefore, instead of picking up the phone and order that greasy, fatty, kind of pizza, you might grab the canned black-eyed peas and make my recipe in no time. Right?
I used dried black-eyed peas which I find in the market and I am pretty sure they aren’t old. How do I know it? If they are old, they take way longer time to cook and sometimes you wait for hours without any success at all. Therefore, choose a place with a high legume turnover or purchase a packaged product of good quality and always remember: the fresher the better!
In a nutshell, we are going to boil the black-eyed peas and then mix them with caramelized veggies in order to get a thick stew with layers of flavor that will enhance and complement each other. Not drooling over your phone or keyboard yet? You will!
MORE WAYS TO ENJOY
It is excellent and even more filling to mix your black-eyed pea bowls with grains like whole-wheat pasta, rice or even quinoa. It’s a perfect easy-to-make meal when you have leftovers.
Additionally, you may lightly fork-smash the peas or even better add them in a food processor with other veggies, olive oil, feta crumbles. They can be the base for endless delicious combinations for a perfect spread used in sandwiches, crostini, tacos, tostadas, enchiladas.
READY! NOW, WHAT?
Serve these amazing black-eyed pea bowls with marinated anchovies, sardines or smoked herring because, according to the Greek culinary tradition, legumes taste even better like this. See for yourself. Don’t forget either whole-wheat pitas or crusty homemade bread.
The black-eyed pea spread I was telling you about at the beginning? No can do. Too late, too tired. The kitchen is closed until tomorrow. Have a nice day or night!!!
MEDITERRANEAN BLACK-EYED PEAS BOWLS
- 1½ cup (250g) dried black-eyed peas
- ½ cup (120ml) olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 spring onions, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tomatoes, chopped or 1 cup passata
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ cup parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sort the peas and remove any damaged peas, stones, or debris. Rinse thoroughly.
- In a large pot, add the peas and cover with water about 2 inches above them. Bring to a boil and let them cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain carefully, rinse them and set aside.
- Wash the same pot, add the peas and freshly boiled water about 4 inches above them. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-high for 30 minutes. Drain carefully and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large pan with lid, heat ¼ olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion until soft for 5 minutes, the garlic for another 2 minutes, the carrots for about 3 minutes and stir in the black-eyed peas for another 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly.
- Pour in hot water to cover the vegetables and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes (or passata) and the bay leaves. Season to taste. Cover with the lid, reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Taste the peas. They should be tender. If not, let them simmer until you reach desired tenderness. You may add more hot water along with the cooking procedure.
- When the peas are ready, turn off the heat and add the rest of the oil olive (1/4 cup) and the parsley. Stir, remove from heat and serve.